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I want to buy my son a paintball gun for Christmas. I don't want to cheap out, but I don't want to go overboard in case he decides he isn't into it anymore after a short period of time. Can I get some recommendations on what to buy please?
 

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Hmmm, let's see, definitely doable but I wouldn't call it easy. I'm going to assume you are looking for a complete package to get him on to the field, not just the marker (gun). If that's wrong let me know and I can adjust my recommendations

The two biggest things are the tank and the mask, those are the two largest money suckers.

Mask is the most important piece of gear by far, it's not only safety but a bad mask will ruin the day of play. The biggest thing is the lens, you want a "thermal" lens. A thermal lens has 2 layers so like a double pane window in your house, they prevent fogging. A "thermal coating" is NOT the same thing and is just a marketing gimmick

Here's the thing about masks though, trying on in person is always the best option. If you have a local shop that actually has a decent selection that's the best way to go. Because my face is a different shape than your son's is not always a one size fits all kind of deal. You want a mask that will fit well, can be tightened down so it will not move with heavy shaking of the head and the foam will seal all the way around his eyes. If there is no local shop, here are some options that typically work for most people and are somewhat budget friendly

Here's a few options

Extreme range x ray. Has a thermal lens but that's about it. I would trust this mask to keep you safe but realistically, I don't recommend it, it's not going to be very comfortable and will realistically be replaced down the road but the good news is it's $35



Slightly better option, at $50, dye SE thermal. This is basically a dye Invision, it's been around since the mid 2000s it's definitely a contender for your needs. My brother in law used one for years until he finally upgraded to a top end mask


Valken profit, these are really good masks, not top of the line but good contenders, they have a really good field of vision, the foam is fairly comfortable and have a unique double strap system that is really good at holding the mask in place. One strap is worn up higher on the back of the head and one lower to help prevent the mask from moving up or down $60


Empire e vents, I used one of these for a number of years, good masks, you can see and hear well, tool-less disassembly for changing the lens or cleaning. Comes at a price though, $70



Time for tanks

The biggest thing for tanks is to know if you will be using co2 or HPA (high pressure air). That decision is realistically made by the field he will be playing at. In this day and age, more and more fields are moving to HPA only. Long term HPA is the better option, most mid range markers and up, require HPA anyway. Starting out, most entry level markers can run on co2 (everything works on HPA) co2 will save you money and can get you more shots for the same price. So call around, ask the local fields if they are hpa only or if they can fill CO2

If you can use co2 and you do want to get one, 20oz is the way to go

$28

If you have to or want to go with HPA, realistically a 48/3000psi tank is your only option on your budget. They are fairly small and will only offer about 450 shots per fill but, they will get you guys started

$50 and empire is a stand up brand


So if you go with HPA and let's say the valken profit, your are at $110 so far, time for a marker (gun)

Spyder Victor, spyder is a decent brand, they are easy to work on and find parts for. There's really not a lot of features here, the clamping feedneck and double trigger is as exciting as it gets. Good to have though $70

This link will take you to look at all the spyder victors. Put them in order by price, low to high. For some reason the refurbished ones are more expensive than the new ones


The kits below are an ok option, the real problem is the mask, the "legendary" kit is the best option for you as it has a HPA tank, but you will need another $35 to put a thermal lens in that mask and it will still not be very comfortable

At $85 there's the azodin ATS. It has a little bit of a military look to it if you think he would like that but all the same features of the spyder above and I will say I like azodin as a brand over spyder. It would take too much time to explain why but they tend to be a simpler design, less parts means there are less parts to lose when doing maintenance


The one problem with these mechanical markers above is they are really not much better than the rental markers you can get at the field. They will be in better shape sure but as far as basic features there's not a huge difference.

After those though things get a little more difficult to stay in your $200 budget really there are a few markers I think are good value but they are typically between $150-200 on their own. The one I will mention is the spyder Fenix at $130

This has an electronic frame which makes the trigger pull VERY short and light. Means he can put a lot more paint down range quickly and will not feel out-gunned on the field. The on board regulator is a nice feature to keep the air at a consistent pressure and therefore his velocity stays more consistent and predictable. The trigger is adjustable to make it feel the way he would like, laser eyes make sure there is a paintball in the breach ready to go before they will allow the marker to fire, this makes it so he will chop less paintballs. There's even a few firing modes to choose from. If my memory is correct, semi Auto, PSP ramping and millennium ramping (basically full Auto)


Same thing with these, put them in order from cheapest to most expensive, the newer ones are cheaper than the refurbished ones for some reason



Hopper

Really on your budget, a gravity hopper is probably the only way to stay under $200,

Any normal gravity feed hopper will be fine, typically they are $8 or less, heres one for an example. They work, but typically require some shaking to get them to continue feeding (often called, "shake and bake" hoppers)


If you want something that will feed a little better but it's still a gravity hopper, this is a proto primo, it would take a bit to explain why but they basically don't need to be shaken nearly as much
$20



And here is something that I would recommend for a long term investment. Halo too. It's an electronic force feed hopper so it needs some AA batteries but will actively push the paint into the marker to make sure there is a paintball ready to fire each time the marker cycles. Great hoppers, will keep up with anything out there, even refurbished they are still $62 though so probably not for right now but I would recommend one of these as a first upgrade down the road. Definitely not top of the line but they definitely get the job done.



Ok, sorry that's so long but hopefully it gives you some options. Paintball is a great sport, there are really really friendly people out there. I'm happy to answer any more questions you have and if you want to chat on the phone, I'm a trucker and can talk for most of the day on the phone if you would like

Sent from my motorola edge 5G UW (2021) using Tapatalk
 
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